What Is The Core Element Every Engaging Social Media Campaign Has?

Social Media EngagementBuilding engagement is one of the key powers of a good social media marketing campaign, yet it can be one of the trickiest things to get right. It needn’t be though, as you’ll see in this article. There really is one key core element that you need to create an engaging campaign.

When I say engagement, I don’t mean meaningless likes. I don’t even mean shares. People can click like without thinking about it, based solely on the face value of the post. And shares don’t mean engagement. It’s great to get more reach through these mechanisms, but a business that simply uses like-bait and share-bait is really not  likely to engage with its customers.

By engagement, I mean content that gets your readers thinking and responding. If it’s a blog post, it would be a post that people read and comment on. If it’s a video, it would be one that people watch and comment on. The comments would be about the content, and will have been thought through.

Don’t go for fake

Many use competitions to generate fake engagement, inviting followers to comment on a photo for the chance to win. This can often increase reach and entice more people to like your page, but what do these people want from you? Yep, you guessed it. They want freebies. They don’t care what you have to say or offer.

Fake engagement is something generated by many agencies and social media marketers as a box-ticking exercise. They can go back to their bosses or clients and say “Look how many likes, shares and comments this post generated.” But it does very little good. The likes, shares and comments are meaningless, and the new followers obtained through the post are often uninterested and can even be temporary.

Real engagement is what keeps people coming back, getting involved and caring. Real engagement is the true value of a good social media community. Real engagement is more difficult to generate than fake engagement.

Why do people comment?

Commenting isn’t the only form of engagement in social media, but it’s a great place to start. Why do people comment? If you have the time, you can find out in detail by reading my book: Conversation is King. For those of you who are short on time, I’ll quickly summarise what generates comments below.

You need to create content that is tribal. They need an us, a them and a subject that sits across the middle. The environment needs to be safe (ie. when anonymity is offered, you’ll get more comments. But that’s not always possible, obviously) and they need to feel like they are invited and allowed to comment. You need to create emotion-strong posts that aren’t over complex.

So what is the core element of this?


The us and them doesn’t need to be two physical tribes, it can simply be the problem in your followers’ / readers’ lives. For example, for football players, the other could not only be the opposition, but poor performance. Decent football boots help them get over their problem of poor performance.

So that’s fine. We have a tribe of followers who dislike something and want to change the world somehow by getting rid of that enemy. But how do we get them talking and engaging?

At the core of all of your campaigns, you need to have that argument. And that argument can be presented in the form of a question. I’m not saying you should explicitly ask your followers a question every time you post, but behind the posts should be a question that invites input to an argument, if you want to generate true engagement. And both sides of the argument need to be credible.

If your followers are England football fans, your argument could be based around the team selection. For example, let’s focus on the choice of strikers. Lots of England fans have their own views on who should be selected so the question around the argument is “Who should play up front for England?” But if you ask that question week in, week out, you’ll no doubt bore your followers and yourself. So, this is where you present it in different ways. You could simply post a video of Jermaine Defoe scoring for Sunderland with the caption “The best we’ve got?” Then next week, you could post a photo of Wayne Rooney, with the comment “Does he still have it?”

Reach is great

Not all of your posts need to be engaging. You can post content that is likely to be shared. Generating reach is great and is very important to a good social media strategy, but engagement retains your followers and makes them work for you, by talking to and about you.

Next Steps

If you would like to discuss your social media marketing strategy, please get in contact with me. I can also give you a free website and marketing review, so you know the strengths and weaknesses of your current strategy as well as potential opportunities. Please email hello@patrickmacgougan.co.uk.

About the Author

Patrick is a digital marketing consultant with around 10 years' experience, covering SEO, PPC, social media, email and user experience.

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